Retail, Art and Barbecue Meet at the Meatpacking District's Coolest New Place
Just when New York’s retail landscape was starting to feel a little tired—a little shopworn—along comes the Meatpacking District’s Fort Gansevoort and its highconcept shop, S, M, L. When Fort Gansevoort husband-and-wife founders Adam Shopkorn and Carolyn Angel stumbled on the space, a stunner of a Greek Revival house nestled just south of Ninth Avenue’s main nightlife drag, they initially conceived of it as a straightforward gallery, but in the interest of best utilizing the unusual layout (three long, narrow floors), additional ideas soon presented themselves—apart from juncture of art and retail, the creative platform—which takes its name from a similarly titled Rem Koolhaas tome—will host artisans-in-residence in the space for two-month stints. They’ll work on-site, sell their wares, and even teach weekend craft workshops for those who would just as soon get hands-on with holiday gifting. They’ll be working just a stone’s throw from Shopkorn’s exhibits, behind the space’s already-extant small, medium, and large hardwood bars. As Angel describes the ambitious project, “It was like curating a shoot, but making it real!”
On the first floor, in the largest of the three bars, visitors will find Cara Marie Piazza, a natural dyer and self-dubbed “chic garbage lady.” Instead of cocktails, Piazza’s “color apothecary” will be serving up bespoke garment overdyeing, using everything from flowers to bark. Bring your own pieces for her to work her magic on, or pick up a washed, too-soft-for-words tee at the space. The resulting pieces have muted, beautifully murky tones. And lingerie lovers, take note: Piazza will even be offering hyper-luxe dyed silk camis, slips, and bras.
Up a flight of stairs and tucked in a corner at the “small” bar is Julia Zangrilli, founder of Brooklyn-based Nova fragrances. Her unisex scent bar will offer custom scents blended on-site. Some are inspired by Fort Gansevoort, others by astrological signs; she’s also selling things like cold-pressed face mists and linen sprays.
The third and final floor is home to Maayan Zilberman, one of the minds behind muchloved lingerie brand The Lake & Stars, busy honing another of her talents: candymaking. Under the name Sweet Saba, Zilberman has set up shop at the mediumsized bar, creating treats that are as much art as they are a means for a sugar fix. Taking cues from rock and crystal healing, her sucrose-based takes on pyrite and quartz low (blend) to mint chocolate chip (classic) to “Mother’s Milk” (yep).
And all that’s to say nothing of the art space that is Fort Gansevoort’s core. Shopkorn showed storied New York graffiti mainstay Ces back in July, and currently on display is an exhibit by the NYPD’s star forensic artist, detective Jason Harvey. The works are Harvey’s fantasy police sketches, most teetering on various degrees of the surreal. It’s not outsider art, per se, but surely outside the realm of the many blue-chip galleries just north of the space. Expect more of that spirit in forthcoming projects, too: Shopkorn’s working on a future presentation of the work of Nelson Sullivan, the building’s most famous tenant (back in the neighborhood’s seedier days, pre–bandage dresses and velvet ropes), a video artist and key figure of the city’s queer art history. Alongside the S, M, L artisans, shows like that will make for the kind of beautiful incongruousness that’s just what the Meatpacking needs more of these days.